Wednesday, June 17, 2015


This blog has been asleep for awhile, hasn't it?

Normally, I try to post something at least once a month, but the last days of school and general chaos of my schedule has prevented me from going on any serious projects. Unfortunately, ARARANKHA won't be appearing on the blog for some time. The manuscript and artwork is finished, sure, but there is no editor, and attempted projects are dropping like flies. Still, summer has just begun, you may see it again in the future. I'm not happy with what I've written, I feel the characters can be better, but criticism only improves. I'm currently writing a new novel, which I will discuss on a later date.

So, let's discuss the Brontosaurus in the room: JURASSIC WORLD! (Brontosaurus is a valid genus now.) If you haven't noticed, I'm a dinosaur nut. Most of my projects feature dinosaurs in one form or another. If not, they feature a creature that resembles a dinosaur. I'm a fan of everything from Walking With Dinosaurs to Ray Harryhausen to King Kong. For the first five years of my life, I pestered my Grandmother to play Jurassic Park 3 every time I came to her house, even though it scared her half to death (she didn't own the first film. It was either that, or Phantom Menace...I didn't have a very good taste in films back then.)

Needless to say, the Jurassic Park films were some of my favorite films growing up. (my absolute favorite was Beast from 20,000 fathoms. Because Harryhausen is awesome.) With great special effects, a sense of awe and terror, and a great set of obscure dinosaur names to make my parents feel decades behind me, the film's dinosaurs will always hold a place in my heart (yes, even Spinosaurus). So, naturally, when I gained access to the internet and found rumors for a fourth movie, I went ballistic. For ten years, I combed the internet for any new scrap of news, read page after page of fan speculation. Years ago, I even attempted to make Jurassic Park 4, with my friends as various people from the movies (I was Malcolm, who for some reason I thought I resembled and could impersonate) and the dinosaurs were my set of plastic Jurassic Park toys I stashed under my drawer. I actually filmed quite a bit of the movie, which is sadly lost now, but I will always remember my brother, dressed as Grant in a plaid button-up and fedora, using a water pistol to gun down a plush carnotaur. He played the hell out of that role.

Finally, after years of rumors, silence, and bad fan fiction, Jurassic Park returned to cinemas. A script finally settled upon, production began in Kuai, and by November 2014 we had the first trailer. My heart pounded in my chest as the Mosasaur chomped the dead shark. It was unlike anything fans had ever predicted: a fresh start on the franchise, with sea creatures, hybrids, and trained raptors. So, I sat back in my chair, appreciating the ballsy move Trevorrow had taken the franchise, and waited till June. I watched the trailers, observed every new bit of news, and eagerly watched the calendar as time slowly winded down.

Last night, I finally got to theatre, among a horde of giddy fellow nerds wearing Jurassic Park T-shirts. I sat down, waited through the annoying commercials, and watched the finished film. A film I had waited ten years to see.

It was awesome!

Sure, it had it's flaws, most films in development hell do, but I was blown away by how undeniably epic the movie was! Intense, funny, and sometimes terrifying, Trevorrow's enthusiasm for the franchise could be seen in every single aspect of the movie. It actually made me wish I hadn't seen all the trailers and bits of news, just to see the whole damn thing unfold without any preconceived of what it would be like!

Jurassic World is the first film in over a decade to capture the feel of original. John Hammond's dream finally realized to a full extend, the film might not be as good as the first, but it's damn close. And no, I'm not going to say it's "bigger, louder, and has more teeth", because every other review has said that already. Though it does indeed, have all those features.


The ending, obviously. In the vein of GODZILLA (2014), it was filled with so much nostalgia and love for it's principal characters I was shocked they had the guts to try and pull it off. Basically a long tacking shot of pure chaos, it was a great climax to the movie. I won't spoil it for you, but ironically, my own version of Jurassic Park 4 had a very similar ending (only the dinosaurs in question were the T-rex, Spinosaurus, and a mutant carnivorous sauropod thingy).

Though people have been split on what to think of the Hybrid (some think she should have looked weirder, others didn't think she should've appeared at all.) I was mostly fine with the creature, and the special effects used to create it's main attack(anyone who read LOST WORLD will understand, wink wink) are incredibly impressive.

For a Jurassic Park movie, I was very impressed by many of the characters. Far from annoying, most of the main cast were believable and even very funny. My personal favorites were Zach and Gray, the best kid characters in the franchise since the first film, and the new computer technician, a super-meta nerd who gives some pretty funny comments about the idiocy of creating a mutant killer hybrid dinosaur just to appease the board. Chris Pratt, of Guardians of the galaxy fame, is excellent and likable as the raptor trainer. I also liked Claire, a park manager who teams up with Pratt's character to save her nephews.

The action is quite spectacular, wether just strolling throughout the park in all its glory, or in the inevitable chaos that unfolds from the dinosaurs escaping. There are some great set pieces and dinosaur fights throughout the film, and it is really fun to see.

I'd say more, but the movie has just released, and I don't want to spoil anything.


Regardless of the childlike joy I expressed watching the movie, I felt the movie had some overall flaws. None of this should deter you from seeing the film, but I feel, for all his gutsy decisions, Trevorrow worked a little too hard to try and appease the franchise's huge fanbase.

First off, the movie has gotten a lot of flack from angry scientists and paleontologists, for the inaccurate portrayals of dinosaurs. Despite many of the animal's looking nothing like their real-life counterparts, the film only barely mentions this and doesn't go too terribly in-depth. Paleontology is an ever-changing field, and while the dinosaurs of the first two films were mostly spot-on to 90s biology, Jurassic World has taken a step back in an attempt to retain consistency to its dinosaur's appearance. For example, while the Velociraptors in the film are 6-foot tall, scaly creatures with pronated wrists, real Velociraptors were the size of German Shepherds, had supplanted bird-wrists, and were covered in feathers. They were more akin to large terrestrial eagles with snouts full of teeth and tails, rather than the creatures you see in the film. I don't know why; most of the carnivores in the film, the creatures you see the most, are entirely new clones and certainly could be modified to be accurate. However, the most likely reason is the fact that it is difficult to make a feathered or furry dinosaur that is as frightening or imposing as a scaly one. I'm not saying it's impossible, for anyone who is skeptical that a feathered raptor or T-rex could be scary, simply observe an eagle or vulture, animals that be both noble or terrifying based on their moods. I always make my dinosaurs to be as accurate as humanly possible, and even though I still love the creatures, I wish they at least tried to add new discourse to their designs.

Also, though everything else is fine, the pterosaurs are really frickin ugly. Seriously, who designed them? Say what you want about Jurassic Park 3, but the Pterosaurs in that film at least looked and felt like real animals, with good musculature and realistically struggling under the weight of the kid they were trying to abduct (impossible in real life, Pterosaurs were basically living hang-gliders. they could neither grab things with their feet nor be able to support the weight of the person they were abducting. The larger Azdarchids, however, abducted prey with with their long beaks, and possibly were strong enough to snatch away small dinosaurs.) These pterosaurs nearly made off with a BABY TRICERATOPS, an animal the size and weight of a small pony! Also, while lacking teeth, they still lacked fur, which pterosaurs sported to insulate themselves. The Dimorphodons did have fur, but those creatures looked even worse than the Pteranodons. Cartoony and zombified, despite being one of the few Pterosaurs that actually walked on two legs, the critter's head was so big I doubt it would be able to even lift it in reality.

Also, I really wish they had used more animatronics in the film. Sure, the CGI was mostly good, the raptors looking the best with good close-ups. But the only animatronic I spotted in the film was an apatosaurus head, and nothing else. Either no animators were used at all, or some executive idiot glazed it all over with CGI. Stan Winston's animatronics were really important to the films, not just because of their realism, but to give the actors something real to react to OTHER THAN A GREEN BALL AND STICK.

Finally, the character I was least sold on was Vincent D'Onofrio's character. He is an excellent actor, giving a frightening portrayal of Kingpin on Netflix's Daredevil show, which I liked. But his character in Jurassic World just doesn't work. From the beginning, you can tell he is an utter slime ball with no compassion for the creatures he works with or his job, and would be first in line for "characters to betray the company once the park goes to hell.". Sure, Nedry was also a slime ball and obvious traitor, but if you were in the movie with him, he would just seem like an incompetent idiot and no real threat. Why they would hire this guy at all is a mystery to me, especially since his main goal is to weaponize the raptors, something the CEO (Irrfan Kahn) is completely against.

Hey, speaking of Nedry, Dilophosaurus was once again denied a role in the movie. Sure, he has a fun cameo on the hologram system, but for a creature so famous to the franchise, you'd think he'd have a bigger role. He's just as inaccurate as the rest of them, real Dilophosaurs had no frill and couldn't spit poison. Why not?


The film had problems, sure. But should you skip it? No! The film is a great flashback to 90s nostalgia, a meta comment on consumerism's demand for more teeth, and a great action movie. So, if you've been a fan of Jurassic Park your whole life, or dinosaurs in general, and want to recapture the wonder of seeing dinosaurs on screen, go see it!

You'll probably love it, I (somewhat) guarantee it!

Thanks for commenting.

Kelston Hubler